Guest Post @ Captain Capitalism. Stockpiles.

A huge thanks to @aaron_clarey for publishing my guest post on starting up a stockpile.

My first post back from the week off and it isn’t on my blog! 😛 Click here to read it.

TTFN and Happy Hunting.

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It isn’t wicked to be an enabler, just misdirected.

It is often too easy to see the flaws in a behaviour and not the healthy points at the root of it. Enabling is one of those behaviours where the healthy components are often overlooked.

When we call someone an enabler, we usually mean “a person who encourages or enables negative or self-destructive behaviour in another”. However the primary definition in the dictionary is not that. That part comes second. The primary definition is “a person or thing that makes something possible”. And that’s something important to bear in mind.

An enabler, at their core, is someone who wants to give someone else what they want. The enabler may enable an alcoholic by buying said alcoholic more drinks when the alcoholic’s state is too bad to get out the house. The enabler will do this because they believe it is good, as it makes the alcoholic happy. They do not want the alcoholic to suffer or do badly; if they did they would be a saboteur: “a person who engages in sabotage”, to “deliberately destroy, damage, or obstruct (something)”.

The problem therefore is in what they are enabling. They are enabling a negative habit, which in the end will cause more harm than good.

And therein lies the problem. An enabler is not a wicked person. They simply need to learn that what they are enabling is a wicked thing, that temporary happiness and praise is not a sign all is well, and often they will adjust and make efforts to enable more positive traits.

Enabling, once redirected, is a marvellous and powerful thing. Housewives and the home guard enabled healthy men to go to war when it was required. Kelly Ann Conway enabled Trump to portray himself well to the media. General Curtis LeMay enabled the Berlin Airlift. Objectively, in all cases everyone involved benefitted from their enabling.

So don’t fear being an enabler. Just ask yourself if you’re doing it for the feels or for the results.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

What things have you enabled in the past? In what ways have you been enabled, for better or for worse?

 

For help starting out homemaking, check out The ESSENTIAL Beginner Homemaker’s Guide. For help budgeting all your everday and not-so-everyday essentials, from food to transport to clothes, check out On A Budget: The good homemaker’s guide to economizing.

Laissez-Faire Homemaking Will Rock Your (and his] World.

Laissez-faire, to let be, to let things take their own course.

It’s often applied to larger scale orders, like government policies. But it also makes some sense in the context of smaller orders, like family and home order.

In essence, however much the breadwinner is the owner of the house and the captain of the relationship, the homemaker is the manager of the home. And many homemakers become proper little tyrants, more often than not unintentionally. We’ll call them Domestic Dictators.

The characteristic befliefs and behaviours of a Domestic Dictator are:

  • there is a specific way to do everything which is the only valid way
  • perfect order, artistic beauty and spotlessness are requirements to make a home for the family
  • efficiency in maintaining order will make everyong happy
  • if a job isn’t done perfectly, it wasn’t worth doing
  • if a job isn’t done perfectly, it needs redoing from scratch
  • everyone wants and needs everything to be perfect
  • falling short of the ideal mark is equal to failure
  • if nobody else can do something perfectly, the homemaker must do everything
  • if someone is given a task they have to do it just as the homemaker would
  • disciplining someone for falling short of domestic expectations is appropriate
  • nobody needs praise or reward for meeting domestic expectations

This puts a lot of pressure on the home and the relationships within it, even though the Domestic Dictator does not see the source of the pressure and often believes what they are doing is beneficial to everyone under the roof! In the Domestic Dictator’s eyes, getting angry about the way the laundry was put out is justified because they believe that it needs to be hung a certain way to dry, that this drying method benefits everyone, and therefore that they need to “fix” the job someone else did. They believe that feeling anger is natural because time and energy was wasted and they believe that redoing the task is justified because their way is the only way that works. But what they neglect is that efficiency does not mean harmony, and that doing and redoing tasks is not efficiency either! Fretting over the perfect home can drive a family apart. And the cure to that mentality is laissez-faire homemaking.

Laissez-faire homemaking takes a different mentality. The beliefs and behaviours of a Laissez-Faire Homemaker are:

  • if something works, then it was done well
  • perfect order, artistic beauty and spotlessness are nice, but tidiness, prettiness and cleanliness are good targets
  • efficiency in maintaining order can be stressful
  • if a job isn’t done perfectly, at least it was done
  • if a job isn’t done perfectly, it can be left for now
  • nobody else wants and needs everything to be perfect
  • falling short of the ideal mark is a far cry from failure
  • if things need to be delegated, the homemaker can let perfection slide
  • if someone is given a task then the homemaker embraces their hard work
  • disciplining someone for falling short of domestic expectations is abusive
  • everyone deserves praise or reward for meeting domestic expectations

The Laissez-Faire Homemaker takes a much more relaxed approach, taking pleasure in order without needing to force perfection on everyone. If the dishes are not properly cleaned the Laissez-Faire Homemaker may need to redo them and explain the situation, but if the laundry is hung out slightly differently to usual there is no need to tell the helper off or to redo the work from scratch. The Laissez-Faire Homemaker doesn’t only act like this, but internalizes the messages and embraces a more relaxed set of beliefs around homemaking, feeling calm and collected at the end of the day and doing their best not to let little annoyances get the better of them.

Some of my favourite laissez-faire homemaking mantras are:

1: “It doesn’t matter.”

Every time I feel annoyed about anything that has happened or been done which interferes with my plans, that’s the first thing I move to tell the other person. Often it’s hard, but fortunately with Jon it comes easily. Only once have I had to tell him “I want to say it doesn’t matter, but it kind of does.” Once in five years has my annoyance ultimately mattered. So remind yourself of it, and say it to your loved ones: “It doesn’t matter.”

2: “You can  have whatever you want.”

Food is a big source of arguments and I really can’t see why. Between women playing 20 questions about dinner venues and men not really being aware of what’s in the fridge, many couples argue over meal planning. What I do is simpler: I look at what we have, suggest two or three meals and Jon picks. And if he wants something else? Then he can have it. As long as we have it in the house or he’s willing to go out and get the ingredients, he can have whatever he wants. Leftovers can be reheated. Meals can be frozen. Ingredients can be repurposed. What matters is that everyone is fed and happy.

3: “There is always tomorrow.”

Some days the setbacks just pile up. My schedule is very tight most days: work, housework and downtime are all calculated into the day methodically. So if something takes too long or gets in the way, I can miss things. On Tuesday I missed several opportunities to write due to endless phone calls. On Friday we were out a lot and I couldn’t do the cleaning. So instead I did the cleaning and my extra work on Saturday. Sometimes things can wait, so prioritize, reschedule and calm down. There’s always tomorrow.

4: “Once done is good enough.”

When Jon does the dishes the stacking is almost always completely different from how I would do it. When he hangs the laundry out it’s wherever. When he makes dinner it is often simple, fast and may not fit my macros. But considering that he only does these things when I am too busy earning money, doing another job or having a minor meltdown, it would be cruel to complain he isn’t me, and stupid to redo it in the time I don’t have. Once done is good enough.

5: “What’s done is done.”

Sometimes your annoyance does matter. Sometimes work is an absolute mess, needs immediately redoing from scratch, never doing like that again, has completely thrown your schedule and the person needs to know. But, again, making it into a massive blow-out has no point. Take them aside, explain the problem, pour your energy into fixing it. But what’s done is done. You can’t undo their mistake with anger. So let it go.

If you are more of a Domestic Dictator, this approach may seem confusing, even lazy. But it works. You may wonder how people can be happy if a stew was made and all everyone wants to eat is eggs and waffles. You may wonder how a homemaker can settle for an improperly loaded dishwasher. You may wonder how a house can run if everything is not exactly to plan. But it still works.

There is happiness in harmony, and laissez-faire homemaking puts harmony first, allowing happiness to bloom.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

 

For help starting out homemaking, check out The ESSENTIAL Beginner Homemaker’s Guide. For help budgeting all your everday and not-so-everyday essentials, from food to transport to clothes, check out On A Budget: The good homemaker’s guide to economizing.

How To… motivate yourself.

I get it: you don’t want to. I don’t even know what you want to do yet and I know you don’t want to. I can feel the intensity of not-want from here. But you really want the results. And sadly, when you want results you have to work for them. So here are a few pointers to get you on track.

1: Make it a surprise or do it together.

If your plans involve someone else, then it’s all or nothing. Either they are doing this with you, or it’s better not to tell them.

It has been scientifically proven that talking about your goals casually gives you the same positive energy boost as achieving them. Being acknowledged and listened to matters more than losing weight, quitting smoking or finishing that novel.

Besides that, it is also proven that people who aren’t improving themselves will try and sabotage those who are. Make your plans secret from such people.

If your friend or partner are all in, then that’s a different matter. But otherwise, make your self improvement a secret.

2: Visualize less, plan more.

Visualizing is a trap. The more you imagine yourself to be the perfect person you want to be, the less likely you are to actually strive for it, the less prepared you are for setbacks and the less likely you are to accept improvement over perfection. People who visualize and daydream more tend to be less likely than average to achieve their dream.

Throw away that perfect inspirational picture, stop imagining fame and glory, leave behind your dream job and focus on planning our the steps towards actually improving, one ladder rung at a time.

3: Plan less, do more.

In the same vein, the more time you spend planning, the less time you spend doing.

Give some serious thought to a rough plan you will be able to follow. Write yourself a schedule with a bit of flexibility. Then stop planning and start doing.

Too many plans take up your time and energy and can leave you falling into the visualization trap. Besides that, like fad diets, when your goal is 90% planning and only 10% practice, you are wasting time and energy on something other than results.

Move towards your results instead.

4: Give yourself a pep talk.

Sometimes you just need a coach behind you to tell you you’re doing great, to push you a bit further, to remind you of where you are heading. But if you’re working this hard path alone or you just happen to be alone when the desire to give up hits you, you need to give yourself that pep talk.

Remind yourself of your goal, of what you have done right, of what you have done wrong and of what your plans are. Don’t be too kind or forgiving, but don’t talk down to yourself either. Direct yourself to the right path.

5: Look at how far you’ve come and reward yourself.

Gamification is a recent concept in psychology that shows how turning your progress into a “game” can help you make more progress.

Rather than just looking at the start point and the end goal, measure your success in stages, like levels to a game, and reward yourself appropriately at each stage. The same mechanism that makes you hooked on a silly online game can hook you on self improvement!

And those are just some ways you can productively motivate yourself!

What do you do for motivation?

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

 

For help starting out homemaking, check out The ESSENTIAL Beginner Homemaker’s Guide. For help budgeting all your everday and not-so-everyday essentials, from food to transport to clothes, check out On A Budget: The good homemaker’s guide to economizing.

How To… balance a freelance schedule.

As most of you already know, I am a freelance worker and self-employed in my own tutoring business. Which is kind of cool, as it means I can sit around on my butt all day and somehow get housework done and make a full time income. But it also means the schedule is insane. My everyday life has changed a lot since I went from being “the rural housewife” to actually becoming “the second earner”, and the schedule is the weakest point of the day.

So, when you have this work here and that work there, deadlines all over the place and have to work from your own home, how do you balance a freelance schedule? Here are my tips.

1: Set hours.

If any of your work has set times, build the rest of the day around them. Don’t worry about other aspects of the day, just prioritize set hours and deadlines and let everything else work itself out.

2: Think about time.

Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Think of how much time you have to complete a project, look at the time you have available and make realistic decisions.

On the other hand, you can always cancel something halfway. Don’t fall for the fallacy of sunk costs. Sometimes it’s better to end a business agreement or a task halfway through in order to focus on something you would rather be doing.

3: Reviews versus money.

When starting up, sweat the reviews but keep an eye on the money. Reviews mean more money, even if you have to do some underpaid work to get there. But make sure you’re not out of pocket, either!

When you’re established, sweat the money but keep an eye on the reviews. You need to look out for yourself and your business. But make sure the buyers think they are getting their money’s worth, or you will have bad reviews.

You cannot prioritize both unless you plan on letting this become a full time job.

4: Home office.

Try and contain all your work in an area of the house. This way you will always know where it is and you will save insane amounts of time.

5: Powering down.

When you set foot outside your home office, the working day ends. Check emails, by all means, but don’t try and keep going day and night. Set aside some time to keep your house in order, enjoy your family and be yourself.

6: Write a list.

Write up a complete list of your daily tasks every morning. Write in timed ones first, then fit everything else in around the times. Include work tasks and home tasks. Push important tasks nearer the start of the day and leave less important ones as a footnote for if you have time. This should help keep you focused and make sure everything gets done.

OTOH, I’m pretty sure I need a break soon. I’m forgetting to power down.

How do you balance your schedule?

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

 

For help starting out homemaking, check out The ESSENTIAL Beginner Homemaker’s Guide. For help budgeting all your everday and not-so-everyday essentials, from food to transport to clothes, check out On A Budget: The good homemaker’s guide to economizing.

3 More Ways To Save Money Online.

Some of my older readers may remember a post from half a year ago, where I brought up some great online shops for people in America and England to take advantage of.

But there are many more ways of saving money than by just finding cheap shops or buying in bulk. Try a few of these on for size.

1: Voucher Sites.

Voucher sites offer discounts and cashback rewards when you use them. Simply log on, print any usable vouchers and make money.

For example, I use Sainsbury’s My Coupons site to get a little cashback on any groceries I actually buy, and I search online for any vouchers whenever I need them. I have even got some babycare vouchers stashed away ready to use at Boots (if they’re still running the program) when I need the items. Come to mention it, I may cash them in as soon as the positive test comes back and start stashing wipes and creams and shampoos already.

How to find them: just search for “free vouchers” or “money off vouchers”, maybe add your country or region for any specialist ones.

2: Warehouse Clearance.

Warehouse clearance sites operate under the same process as bulk buying websites like BuyWholeFoodsOnline. They buy in bulk so as to get a massive saving, then they sell on to the customers for a mild profit. Often they are selling items that are near or past their BBE dates, but nowhere near their Use-By dates.

I love using a few assorted sites, but Wowcher and Approved Food are my favourites at the moment. These sites move around and change, so just search for “best before buy” and see what you get!

3: Newsletters.

I subscribe to so many newsletters, mostly online but some snail mail. Whenever you buy from a website, subscribe to their newsletter. I know, for example, that I will buy from Buy WholeFoods Online, Natural Balance Foods, Donald Russel, Wowcher or Sainsbury’s again soon. So it’s good to see their offers when I’m getting near the date when I need a new purchase.

What’s more, when you subscribe to newsletters you can access special offers not advertised on their site, or even, if you go a few months without buying, receive a discount on your next purchase.

Whenever you buy from an online site, check for their newsletter, you may be pleasantly surprised.

For even more ways to save money, check out my book On A Budget: The good homemaker’s guide to economizing.

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TTFN and Happy Hunting!

We’re All Collectors.

I’m not exactly a massive fan of junk, clutter or collections. But I also have a deep, personal struggle with some hoarding habits. I went through a few events in my childhood where beloved items were placed in storage only to be forgotten, damaged or stolen. And when you’re being uprooted again and again, however much you enjoy it, you can grow attached to things that go with you. I also find that when you’re frugal you cling onto things because you realize the value there is in reusing everything you own. Water bottles are good for mixing and transporting drinks. Egg boxes are good planters, newspaper can be formed into fire blocks…

So I spend a lot of my life sorting, organizing and getting rid of junk. And an equal amount of time gathering more junk, because I saw something on Pinterest or because planting season is coming up.

Which is where I’ve been finding out the importance of libraries. Most people think only of conventional libraries, but there are, in reality, all sorts of libraries. You can have a video library, a seed library or a pattern library, for example.

And if we’re going to keep some amount of clutter in our lives, we may as well categorize it. I keep my craft materials on some shelves, sorted by type. Some piles of fabric, some sewing boxes, some assorted material samples and some furs and animal bones. Everything I need to craft things when the urge arises. I have a specific shelf for current projects, so when the urge arises I can just leave new materials on it. If I don’t finish the project I will just get rid of the materials.

Keeping your collections in an organized library does three things.

Firstly, it contains your work. Never take out two projects at once, always put materials back and sort everything you finish.

Secondly, it reduces waste. You don’t end up throwing away a few things every time you tidy the house.

Finally, it limits your collection. Once your library is full, you need to focus on quality and can stop yourself from becoming a hoarder.

Because we all collect things, so we may as well not drive ourselves or anyone else crazy doing it.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!